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Merrigan Meets Joins Leaders for Clean Energy Economy Forum

Earlier this week I participated in an Obama Administration Clean Energy Economy Forum in Arlington, Virginia with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewables Cathy Zoi, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly, and former U.S. Senator John Warner.

The event was held at Washington-Lee High School, a LEED certified green building, which was a great venue for discussing the Administration’s plan to lead this nation towards a green energy future.

At the event we discussed the Administration’s plans to bolster the American clean energy sector – which will create millions of new jobs, advance our national security interests and protect the environment.

Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan speaks at a recent White House Clean Energy Economy Forum

Congressman Connolly highlighted projects in Northern Virginia, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Governor Kaine spoke about the progress Virginia has made at reducing carbon emissions, improving public transportation and incentivizing large scale solar and wind projects.

USDA is involved in a number of research, funding and program efforts to help America produce a renewable energy supply and create jobs in rural communities.  We have programs to help individuals and communities by providing grants and loans aimed at weatherization and energy efficiency.  And the Farm Service Agency’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program encourages the development of biomass feedstocks for the production of advanced biofuels, renewable energy and biobased products.

These are just two of the many ways USDA is actively engaged in shaping a green energy future for America.  Events like these, as well as Secretary Vilsack’s current trip to Copenhagen to participate in talks about the international climate treaty, are a reminder of the importance of passing comprehensive clean energy legislation that will allow us to lead the world in the production of renewable energy, and build a clean energy economy in the 21st century.

- Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan

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